Like this site? Help us to make it better.


The cyclist's Christmas survival guide — top tips to get you through the festive period

If you want to strike a healthy balance this Christmas, here are some effective strategies to help you navigate the festive season

The festive period is a time to enjoy, offering a chance to unwind and reflect on the past year - but for cyclists, Christmas also presents an opportunity to set the stage for the upcoming year ahead. It's important to find a balance that allows you to stay active while embracing the joy of the season, so we've put some tips together to help you navigate this period successfully. You might even find some free time to ride your bike! 

2023 Christmas video Santa riding cargo bike Tern GSD

1. Prioritise rest. You've earned it!

For me, every Monday marks my designated rest day, and fortunately, Christmas and New Year's Day fall on a Monday this year! That aside, the holiday season is a perfect time to hit the reset button and have some well-deserved time off the bike so be sure to incorporate rest days into your festive schedule. 

The festive season can be hectic, so giving your body and mind a break will not only be appreciated by you but also, I'm sure, by your family.

2. Reflect & plan

Perfs Pedal race, 2023 (Credit - Ian Wrightson)
(Ian Wrightson)

Having some time off the bike over the festive period is a great opportunity to reflect on your cycling achievements in the past year and set yourself goals for next year.

It's a good time to plan some challenges, races or sportives you want to target next year to help motivate you and direct your winter training when you get back on the bike. 

3. Moderation is key

celebrations tub

> How to eat right for sportives and long rides

The prevalence of tempting food options increases exponentially over Christmas with Celebrations tubs wherever you turn. The festive period is a time to indulge and enjoy the seasonal treats but striking a balance is key.

Try and incorporate a balance of nourishing food to help support your energy levels and your recovery over this period. 

4. Be flexible 

2023 Zwift winter training video indoor cycling

> How to get the most from your limited training time

It can be tricky to stick to your regular riding schedule over the festive period with parties, social gatherings and work commitments but rather than giving up trying to get on the bike altogether, adjust your routine to accommodate the busyness of the season so you can still enjoy yourself without compromising your fitness. 

Consistency plays a crucial role in your cycling training, so make an effort to utilise the available time, even if it's just 30-45 minutes. A short, high-intensity session may not seem enjoyable at the time but you'll feel better after it! 

5. Invest in some winter gear essentials

2023 Liv Avail Pro 0 - riding 3.jpg

> How should you dress for winter cycling? Here are our best tips for layering up

It might be too late to add a winter cycling jacket to your Christmas list, but it's not too late to pick up a bargain in the Boxing Day sales. 

Despite the passing of the shortest day, cold rides remain a certainty in the UK, so it's worth investing in appropriate winter cycling clothing to help make those winter rides more bearable as you build into next season. 

6. Set a challenge

Festive 500_Credit Rapha_Colton Jacob

> How to ride your bike through ice and snow

For many cyclists, Christmas is a much-anticipated holiday that offers the prospect of additional riding time, especially for those who've tactfully planned their holiday days, so why not set yourself a challenge over Christmas? 

There are loads already available that you can join, including the hugely popular Rapha Festive 500, which encourages you to join many other cyclists in trying to notch up 500km over the festive period.

7. Get on the indoor trainer

2023 Zwift winter training video

> Indoor cycling — a complete guide

When time is of the essence, don't discount the value of the turbo or rollers if you are determined to keep riding through the festive period, particularly when the weather is poor. Getting on the bike requires less time, as there's no need for layering up, and the post-ride routine is quicker, as you can skip the bike wash. 

Instead of trying to replicate a long steady ride on the turbo, look to do a short interval session.

8. Active celebrations

Walkers (credit: Friends of the Parkland Walk)

(Friends of the Parkland Walk)

It's important to incorporate physical activities into your celebrations to get out in the fresh air and to stay active. It doesn't have to be cycling; long walks in the countryside are popular during this time, perfect for enjoying with the whole family. 

You can also opt for a quick 20-minute run around the block to work up a sweat or a mountain bike ride. Riding off-road in the mud and over challenging terrain provides a good workout and  is great for bike handling skills.

Santa cycle lane (Dan Walker/Twitter)

(Dan Walker/Twitter)

Do you have any other tips that help you navigate the festive period? Let us know in the comments section below...

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

Latest Comments